Title: Sweetness and Lightning
Author: Gido Amagakure
Published: January 6th, 2016
Rating: 3/5 stars
Having lost his wife, math teacher Kouhei Inuzuka is doing his best to raise his young daughter Tsumugi as a single father. He’s pretty bad at cooking and doesn’t have a huge appetite to begin with, but chance brings his little family and one of his students, Kotori Iida, together for homemade adventures. With those three cooks in the kitchen, it’s no wonder this dinner table drama is so delicious.
I’m very new to reading manga, especially manga that doesn’t involve magic, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into this. I picked it up because I have heard things about the series as both an anime and in book form, but unfortunately it didn’t particularly draw me in.
So far, having only read the first volume, this series isn’t a plot driven one. Instead it has an intense focus on the relationship of the three main characters, Tsumugi, her father Kouhei Inuzuka and his student Kotori Iida. They are all fairly strong characters with distinct and interesting personalities, but in my case their relationship alone was not enough to completely hold my interest even along with the experiences with cooking that they shared.
Tsumugi is cute, sweet, and has other traits typically found in little girl characters. However, she has a bit more depth than I was expecting because she is still processing the loss of her mother. Kouhei Inuzuka, the girl’s father, who is also still struggling to deal with her mother’s death mostly focuses on doing what is best for his daughter as best as he knows how. This is the part of the reason that the characters fall into cooking together in the first place, because he wants her to be able to eat good food. Their relationship is very realistic as well as cute, Tsumugi is not always perfect and he is a good father to her even when she struggles. For this alone, I may continue reading the series. However, I was not as fond of the third character Kotori. She is also a realistic character, dealing with several struggles but she felt much less unique and next to the father daughter relationship I found myself much less interested in her story.
The author also included recipes at the end of each chapter corresponding with the things the characters cooked which I found to be a very cute and interesting touch. If not for the relationship between the father and daughter, I may have considered reading more of the series just to see how the story lined up with the recipes. With that being said, it’s definitely not one of my favorite books even if the characters are very endearing.
Do you read manga? What did you think of this book or others like it?